This course is a short introduction to Python in a few easy lessons. It is suitable for complete beginners, or people who have programmed in other langauges but not Python.
By the end of the course you won’t be an expert Python programmer, but you will understand the basics of Python, be able to create your own simple Python programs, and you should be ready to read some of the more advanced articles on this site.
The lessons are quite short, and each one teaches the basics of one programming topic.
To complete this course, you will need a desktop or laptop computer with Python installed (see the next section). Windows, Linux, Raspberry Pi or Mac will be fine, and any reasonably modern computer will do.
Before you move on, you should install Python on your computer. We recommend version 3.6 or higher.
For Windows, visit www.python.org (the official Python site) then download and run the Windows installer.
Mac OS X
For Mac OS X , visit www.python.org (the official Python site) then download and run the Mac OS X installer.
For Linux, Python will probably already be installed, but it might be an older version. You should be able to install Python from the package manager.
You can check the version of Python installed opening a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+T) and typing (note the upper case V):
If the version is less than 3.6 you should install a newer version. If you are using Ubuntu or Debian Linux, open a terminal window and type:
sudo apt-get install python3.6
For other flavours of Linux, use the equivalent package manager, or refer to the OS documentation for installing Python.
If you have a Raspberry Pi with the standard Raspbian Linux installed, follow the instructions above for Debian Linux.
If you have a different flavour of Linux, refer to the OS documentation for installing Python.
Python comes with a simple, built in user interface called IDLE. We will be using that extensively on this course.
After installing Python on your system, search for IDLE program in the program finder (eg Start Menu in Windows, Dash in Ubuntu). If you have a choice of different version of IDLE, one should be labelled as V3 or even V3.6, you should choose that one.
Here is the window that should appear:
The version of Python is displayed in the title bar and the initial message on the screen.
Congratulations! You are ready to start the course.